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Synthesis and characterization of osteoinductive visible light-activated adhesive composites with antimicrobial properties.

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Orthopedic surgical procedures based on the use of conventional biological graft tissues are often associated with serious post-operative complications such as immune rejection, bacterial infection, and poor osseointegration. Bioresorbable bone graft substitutes have emerged as attractive alternatives to conventional strategies because they can mimic the composition and mechanical properties of the native bone. Among these, bioactive glasses (BGs) hold great potential to be used as biomaterials for bone tissue engineering owing to their biomimetic composition and high biocompatibility and osteoinductivity. Here, we report the development of a novel composite biomaterial for bone tissue engineering based on the incorporation of a modified strontium- and lithium-doped 58S BG (i.e., BG-5/5) into gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels. We characterized the physicochemical properties of the BG formulation via different analytical techniques. Composite hydrogels were then prepared by directly adding BG-5/5 to the GelMA hydrogel precursor, followed by photocrosslinking of the polymeric network via visible light. We characterized the physical, mechanical, and adhesive properties of GelMA/BG-5/5 composites, as well as their in vitro cytocompatibility and osteoinductivity. In addition, we evaluated the antimicrobial properties of these composites in vitro, using a strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. GelMA/BG-5/5 composites combined the functional characteristics of the inorganic BG component, with the biocompatibility, biodegradability, and biomimetic composition of the hydrogel network. This novel biomaterial could be used for developing osteoinductive scaffolds or implant surface coatings with intrinsic antimicrobial properties and higher therapeutic efficacy.

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